Idlewild 2021 'Flora & Fauna' Red, Mendocino

Idlewild 2021 'Flora & Fauna' Red, Mendocino

Item Number: 16684

UPC: 0-195893499786

Country: USA
Region: California
Sub Region: Mendocino
Appellation/AVA: Mendocino County
Estate Grown Wine: Yes
Vintage: 2021
Grape(s): Barbera / Dolcetto / Freisa / Nebbiolo / Grignolino
Type: Wine - Red
Bottle Size: 750 ml
Pack: 12
Closure: Cork
Alc by Vol(%): 12.9
Viticulture: Practicing Organic

Vineyard: Flora and Fauna loosely means the collection of plant and animal life of a certain epoch. For Sam Bilbro, it is the collection of varieties from the cellar that make up the blend for the year. The 2021 is based in Barbera that is blended with Dolcetto, Freisa, Nebbiolo, and Grignolino to achieve the balance desired from this Piedmontese inspired blend. The fruit comes from Fox Hill Vineyard, Lost Hills Ranch, and our new (yet to be named) site in Russian River Valley. Fox Hill lends depth, Lost Hills balances with vibrancy and bright aromatics, and the Russian River site gives a core of fresh fruit and spice. In the end, Mendocino is on display with high and low tones and a very pleasant rusticity while Russian River Valley fills in the gaps to make the wine cohesive.

Vintage: 2021 was a worrisome year with drought and low yields, yet that is often the recipe for amazing fruit. Luckily, for the last few years Idlewild worked to train their vines to receive less water while also increasing organic matter in the soil, which translates to higher water holding capacity. In other words, Idlewild cruised right on through these tough growing conditions and was able to see amazing fruit across the board.

Winemaking: All of these varieties have structure and at the same time a joyous side. The focus in fermentation was to build enough structure for a very versatile food wine but also to emphasize the exuberant and delicious elements of each grape. To do this, the wines were left largely whole cluster and all fermentations started with carbonic maceration. That being said, none of them were pushed to be fully carbonic wines. Instead, the initial lift in aromatics and push on frothy fresh fruits was achieved, and then Sam fully treaded the wines to allow fermentation to switch to a more standard flow. This gave a backbone and savory qualities to act as bass notes to the carbonic high tones. All of the wines were pressed a touch early to ensure that the tannic structure was appropriate for a shorter time in barrel, just four months in neutral oak.

Wine: In Italy, the house wine is often light, fresh, and firmly structured so as to pair beautifully next to a wide range of foods, and that is the inspiration for this blend. The 2021 is both deep and savory while also being light and fresh. Dark cherry, iron and sanguine notes, warm spices, dried herbs, violets, and graphite are highlights of the aromas. The mouthfeel is a joyful interplay of brightness with chewy bass notes before the seriousness kicks in with a firm acid and tannin balance on the finish.


  • Vinous
    Rating: 93 (1/1/2023)

    I was quite impressed with the wines I tasted from Idlewild this year. Sam Bilbro continues to refine his approach to site selection, farming and winemaking, and it shows. The 2021s offer notable depth and tons of character while highlighting the potential of Piedmontese varieties in California. The wines are done in a sytle that emphasizes freshness and vibrancy.

    The 2021 Flora & Fauna Red is fabulous. This is the first vintage that includes significant portions of Grignolino and Freisa in the blend. Bright and punchy, with terrific energy, the 2021 is absolutely gorgeous. Dark red cherry, rose petal, mint, blood orange and spice all race across the palate. This vibrant, mid-weight Piedmontese red blend is absolutely irresistible.